To wrap up season one, DS9 looks all the way back to Emissary! After the Bajoran religious leader Vedek Winn discovers that Keiko O’Brien is teaching secular values to her students, the entire Federation-Bajoran relationship looks like it may crumble. Commander Sisko is hesitant to push his values on anyone, but he may need to take a stand before people end up dead. In the Hands of the Prophets finishes the first season of DS9 and moves us into the second season with an examination of the dark side of the Bajoran religious movement. Clay joins me to discuss meeting new characters, O’Brien’s temper, and the confused ethics of Roddenberry’s universe.
After a Cardassian arrives on DS9, suffering from a rare disease that could only have been contracted at a Bajoran labor camp during the Occupation, Kira tries to determine if the man is a notorious war criminal. Frequently heralded as the first great episode of DS9, Duet features terrific performances and a script that finally attempts to make use of the establishing setup that developed in the pilot of the series. But… is it great or just better than the dregs of season one? Clay and Zack join me to discuss the brutality of the Cardassians, the value of being a good actor, and the ethics of apologizing!
After a Klingon ship explodes and beams a single survivor aboard DS9, the crew start acting in peculiar ways. Kira, in particular, seems to have developed a mutinous streak! Dramatis Personae features telepathic alien orbs, and those always lead to the best episodes of Star Trek, so buckle up! Wes discusses the episode and reads patron thoughts, and tries to figure out why you’d build a clock, why Odo doesn’t melt when he’s unconscious, and why explosive decompression isn’t so bad.
Ambassadors visit the station, O’Brien gets a digital puppy, and Odo melts in the loving hands of Lwaxana Troi! The Forsaken brings back the beloved(?) character of Mrs. Troi and sticks her with the gruff character of Odo, and DS9 continues its first season trend of using TNG story structure: this time it’s a character piece with a sci-fi B plot in the background. Wes reads some patron thoughts and gives his own take, which includes breaking down the character of Odo, Mrs. Troi without her daughter, and the cleverness of Dr. Bashir.
Discovery has taken a break after nine episodes of middling television, but Clay and I will keep the fire stoked (as Torchbearers) with a podcast episode where we discuss our final thoughts about this new half a season of Star Trek. We also talk about cancelling CBS All Access (for a month), the desire to be able to purchase the show on Amazon, and how we might handle discussing the show when it returns in January of 2018.
When a trio of imaginary characters (Rumpelstiltskin, Buck Bokai, and a horny Dax) appear on DS9, the station suddenly finds itself in danger of being destroyed by a subspace anomaly! Featuring a mysterious alien race of unknown powers, “If Wishes Were Horses” continues the DS9 trend of repackaging TNG episodes with a new cast. Modi joins me to discuss the downfall of baseball, having your sexual fantasies out in the open, and sacrificing your firstborn!
Lorca decides to use the USS Discovery as bait to lure the Klingons into a trap, Burnham fights a Klingon, and Tyler suffers from PTSD! Discovery is taking a mid season break, so “Into the Forest I Go” functions something like a season finale. But does it work? Do the storylines we’ve been pondering for weeks come together in the end? Or are we left with more questions than answers? Clay joins me to discuss looking ahead to what comes next, finding out that people aren’t dead, and trying to figure out where we end up!
A stubborn farmer living on a Bajoran moon gives Kira a hard time, and Jake and Nog go about trying to turn useless items into gold pressed latinum! In “Progress”, Kira is forced to confront how her responsibilities to her people have changed when she’s placed into a situation where she has to play the role of the authoritarian. Also, Jake and Nog go into space business and end up extorting the newly formed Bajoran government. Amy joins me to discuss getting older and becoming “the man”, the attractiveness of Morn, and what to do with self-sealing stem bolts!
With the war against the Klingons starting to take a turn for the worse, Burnham joins Saru and Tyler on a mission to the planet Pahvos. They seek to use the planets mysterious sound waves to detect cloaked ships, but Saru might have different intentions altogether! Also, we get some Klingon scenes. Clay joins me to discuss being confused, Klingon face paint, and sending the Discovery into battle for no good reason!
Mudd returns to Discovery, and he’s got a plan that weaves together some of TNG and TOS’ finest episodes! When Harry Mudd reveals that he’s using time travel to attempt to steal the USS Discovery, Burnham and crew must look within their own hearts to find a way to stop the devious con man. Clay joins me to discuss “Cause and Effect” and “I, Mudd”, grinding in the corridors, and ironically listening to contemporary music!
O’Brien and Bashir try to save a Bajoran village from destruction, while Jake and Nog befriend the young leader of a faction involved in a land dispute. The Storyteller kick starts the O’Brien and Bashir relationship, and it also bears a lot of the hallmarks of TNG’s first season. I wonder why? Wes is alone to tell this story, and he gives his thoughts about DS9 versus Discovery, the religious implications of the episode, and the pleasant dullness of land disputes in Star Trek!
Burnham attempts to rescue Sarek and learns something about their relationship, while Lorca has a relationship and then decides not to rescue someone! “Lethe” doesn’t bring up Mirror Stamets or the Tardigrade, but it does attempt to tell a self contained story that establishes some background to a few of our lead characters. Does it succeed? Clay joins me to discuss Burnham the Vulcan, why Lorca sleeps with a phaser, and why placing continuity before a solid story tends to be a mistake.
When Sisko, Kira and Bashir take Kai Opaka on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant, they discover a prison planet where the inmates are forced to endlessly fight each other. “Battle Lines” features Jonathan Banks in a stand out guest spot, and it also does a good job of examining some of the DS9 plots that have been on the back burner for a while. Modi joins me to discuss having good actors in your TV series, the nuance of Ben Sisko, and new information about the Bajoran religion!
When Captain Lorca is captured by Klingons, Saru demands that the Tardigrade be hooked back up to the Spore Drive to enable a rescue attempt. Unfortunately, Burnham’s suspicions about the nature of the using the Tardigrade this way are bearing out. We also meet Harry Mudd! Clay and I discuss the fifth episode of the first season, and we break down Saru’s use of protocols, lists made of fan service, and escaping from Klingon prison ships.
When an alien from the Gamma Quadrant shows Odo a shape shifting necklace, the DS9 Chief of Security begins to wonder if he’ll ever find another shape shifter like himself. “Vortex” is an interesting character story built around Odo, and it likely plays very differently for DS9 veterans and newbies! Modi stops by to discuss shape shifters versus changelings, long character interactions, and Vulcans in the Gamma Quadrant!
In the fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the wonderfully titled “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”, Burnham settles into life aboard the Discovery and we get a closer look at the turmoil within the Klingon Empire! We also learn more about the Tardigrade and its piloting capability, and wonder if everything will come down to a “Devil in the Dark” moment? Clay and I discuss feeling lost in space, missing T’Kumva, and trying to solve the riddle of losing spore drive.
Burnham gets a new ship, and Discovery gets a new start! When mutineer Michael Burnham is transported to the USS Discovery, she finds a ship full of suspicious and mysterious characters, led by the extremely suspicious and mysterious Captain Gabriel Lorca. Clay and I discuss the second “pilot” of Star Trek: Discovery, including vigorous debates about monsters from Doom, getting to know the crew, and travelling via spores!
We’ve been clamoring for a deep dive into Ferengi culture, and finally! Our wishes have been answered! When The Grand Nagus visits DS9, Quark is pushed into a position of power in the Ferengi Alliance. But will those who would wish him harm win out in the end? Clay joins me to discuss DS9 as a whole, turning the Ferengi into mobsters, and how to find the best holosuite in your town.
After twelve long years, Star Trek is finally back on the small screen! The first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery lay the foundation for an entirely new series, with new characters and new relationships, and adds a dimension to a long time Federation frenemy by introducing a charismatic new leader. And then… it wipes all that away and starts over again. Clay joins me to discuss the first two episodes of Discovery, “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars”. What’d we think of Michael Burnham? What’d we think of the new uniforms? Boy, all this concussion talk sure feels zeitgeisty! Star Trek is back, and we hope you enjoy the podcast as we boldly go where we’ve never gone before… into a review of a show that isn’t 20 years old.
When an alien delegation from the Gamma Quadrant visits DS9, some of the senior officers are trapped in a game where Quark controls the outcome! And Quark rolls some dice! Widely regarded as one of the worst episodes of the first season, “Move Along Home” is also one of Avery Brooks’ least favorite episodes. Clay joins me to discuss games without rules, improv acting, and how to make a story completely pointless.
A sinister criminal sneaks aboard DS9 in the mind of Dr. Bashir! While “The Passenger” features excellent character work and further establishes the DS9 universe, it also features some horrible acting and an anti-climactic ending. The show continues to struggle melding its new characters with new story lines, and The Passenger is an unfortunate example of that issue. Join Wes as he discusses slow talking, using the transporter in surgery, and stroking Odo’s ego!
Was Curzon Dax a murderer? And if he was, is Jadzia Dax responsible for his crimes? It’s the question at the heart of “Dax”, an episode that examines the ethics of the Trill while also giving our new crew a chance to interact. A court room drama with a sci-fi heart, “Dax” is also peculiar in that it features very little… Dax? Join Wes as he discusses an episode that feels like a DS9 episode, and relive the excitement of banging a sphere on a table, Dax’s decorating style, and the scars that never go away!
Q makes his first (and only) appearance on DS9 in an episode that involves graviton particles and a woman who once had sex with Picard! When Vash and Q appear on DS9, strange happenings start to threaten the station. Is Q behind the chaos? Or is it something else, totally unrelated? Clay joins me to discuss DS9 in the shadow of TNG, the Quark and Odo relationship, and space jellyfish!
When the first alien visitor from the Gamma Quadrant appears in the Wormhole, Chief O’Brien learns that sometimes you have to change the rules of the game. After meeting Tosk, an alien with a mysterious past who is being chased by the subtly named “Hunters”, O’Brien is forced to decide if he should follow Starfleet regulations or his heart. Kyle from “Trekspertise” joins me to discuss the moral relativism of Star Trek, chase scenes that go on too long, and the slow walk of Odo!
When a mysterious virus strikes the station, it’s only a matter of time before everyone will be speaking gibberish! And then they’ll die! “Babel” is a story that reminds the audience of “The Naked Time” and “The Naked Now”, but instead of losing inhibitions our characters lose the ability to speak… and tell a good story. Kyle from “Trekspertise” joins me to discuss plot versus story, diseases you should take seriously, and characters as McGuffans!
Now that we’ve spent a couple episodes learning about the station and Bajoran politics, let’s settle into some character development! While “A Man Alone” is technically an Odo focused murder mystery, it spends a lot of time giving us insight into the rest of the cast. And Keiko! Modi joins me to discuss the economics of the Federation, a Trill-centric menage a trois, and a Scooby Doo reveal!
We know that Bajor is in disarray, but what does that actually mean? In “Past Prologue”, a Bajoran terrorist boards DS9 and Kira is forced to decide whose side she’s on: the Federation or Bajor? In an episode filled with secrets and lies, we are also meet the character of Garak, who may or may not have a thing for young Dr. Bashir. Modi joins me to discuss character conflict, the nuance of Garak, and Bashir embarrassing himself!
After losing his wife in the Borg attack at Wolf 359, Ben Sisko accepts the command of Deep Space 9. A former Cardassian mining station in orbit around Bajor, DS9 is seen as a vital part of allowing Bajor to join the Federation. With son Jake in tow, Sisko arrives to find a station in ruins and his subordinates at each others throats. Does Sisko have what it takes to bring his house in order, or will he decide to leave Starfleet for civilian life? Clay and Zack Handlen join me to break down the pilot episode for DS9, “Emissary”! We discuss the acting choices of Avery Brooks, orbs in the shape of a peanut, and using baseball as a metaphor for life!
Let’s abandon our starships, and set up home base at a (mostly) stationary… station! The podcast is moving onto our next Star Trek series, Deep Space 9. Featuring what Wikipedia calls, “well developed characters, original and complex plots, and religious themes”, Deep Space 9 was not a super popular series but it has a special place in the hearts of Star Trek fans everywhere. In this introductory episode, Wes explains changes to the podcast (nothing major), the upside of DIY music, and why supporting the show on Patreon might be something worth considering!
With the podcast moving into DS9, we thought we’d give everyone a sampling of the kind of content you can get by supporting the show on Patreon!
Patreon is a website that allows you to easily support content creators you enjoy, and one of the perks of backing The Pensky Podcast is that you get exclusive content each month! In this episode, Clay and I discuss the sci-fi/horror film, “Event Horizon”!
Please enjoy this episode, and maybe even consider supporting the show by becoming our patron!